My Problem with Peyote
I hear the church clock strike eight times. Each fast chime echoes ding ding ding abruptly against my head. I realise it must be six already. I feel suffocated as moisture gathers on my face and across my top lip. I reach my hand up and feel the hard felt and deep fold of my hat. I grab the beige fedora off my face and breathe quickly. The air smells fragrant, of jasmine. A cock crows, then all is quiet. I turn my head quick to the left as I see, a figure, a shadow by the crumbling church wall. The silence is then cracked by a baby crying. I know that cry.
I become aware of cold stone under me. It feels solid, secure. Slowly one by one my bones groan from lying in this awkward position but I feel unable to move. I look up to the sky. The sun seems high up already, rippling out in hazy circles. I can almost hear it vibrating. It makes my eyes blurry, so I shut them thinking to myself; why do I always come here? I wipe my eyes then slowly raise myself up to sitting position. Pulling at the neck of my t-shirt, I loosen the stripy fabric which has stuck to the coils of hair on my chest. She will be mad. Maria will be mad. Why…why do I do it?
I push my hands onto my thighs and try to stand. My legs feel like sticks. I bend like an old man, grabbing at my hat before placing it back on my head. I then adjust the jagging lopsided pin on my name badge. It says; Carlos Delgado ‘Tour guide’. I rub at the rough stubble on my chin, as the doughy sweet scent of concha’s drift past making my mouth water, but its only bitterness that I taste lingering in my mouth. I look across to the far end of the square taking in the orange and red colours of the buildings. They seem so vivid, so alive. I shield my eyes with my hand as I see movement. I try to steady my feet on the grit as I see a figure coming in and out of focus. Then I hear a cry. My baby’s cry. It must be Maria. I don’t care that she will shout and shriek that I am spineless and full of poison, just like that damn peyote! I love her and I will promise her that-
‘She is gone Carlos,’ says a raspy voice through the blur.
I then see the long swishing white robes, and hear the baby’s cry as it starts to sound sore and hard.
‘She has left,’ says Father Pedro holding out the little naked body of my son.